2011 Record: (1-11, 0-8 in MAC)
Head Coach: Terry Bowden (first year at Akron, 140-62-2 overall)
Last Bowl Game: 2005 Season Motor City Bowl: lost to Memphis 38-31
Big Name Opponent: 9/22 at Tennessee
Must Win: 9/15 vs Morgan State, 11/10 vs UMass
Swing Games: 9/29 vs Miami (OH), 10/27 at Central Michigan
Stat to Cheer: their only win last year was against VMI, let me know when you find a "stat to cheer"
Stat to Fear: last in the Nation in third down conversions (converted just 27.78%)
Phil Steele's Returning Starters (Offense: 8; Defense: 6; Specialists: 1)
Key Defensive Returnees: LB Troy Gilmer (71 tackles), S Devonte Morgan (69 tackles)
Key Offensive Returnees: QB Clayton Moore (9 QB, 9 INT), RB Jawson Chisholm (961 yds, 5 TD), WR Keith Sconiers (47 rec, 5 TD)
What is there to say about the Zips of Akron? In the last two years they've gone 2-22. If we look a little further back, they gone 19-53 over the last six years. Things got so bad at Akron that the blog we did our Q&A with last year hasn't posted anything since it's preview for week three of the 2011 season.
Enter new coach Terry Bowden. That's right. Terry freaking Bowden. Back from the dead. Technically not the dead but a school called North Alabama that played in the Gulf Coast Conference. Bowden coached there from 2009-2011 and went 29-9 using such SEC/ACC outcasts as Janoris Jenkins (Florida), Bryan Thomas (Florida), Marcus Dowtin (UGA) and Rod Woodson (Bama) to solidify his teams.
Bowden has brought Chuck Amato in to take over the defense and he's also brought three coaches with him from UNA and he has a cornerbacks coach you might have heard of (Terrell Buckley). Bowden and his group will have a lot of work to do to turn this team around. This isn't a one-year turnaround as depth at several key positions are issues. I would expect Akron to improve their anemic offense from last year but it might not be enough to win their first conference game since 2010. Not only did Akron have the MAC's lowest scoring offense but they also had the defense that gave up the most points. I think Bowden can have success at Akron (especially if he can employ the same type of transfer system he had at UNA) but it's not going to happen this year.
2012 Prediction: 2-10
Previous 2012 Previews: